The existence of these loincloths on athletes depicted in Attic art in the sixth century, however, has

proved to be a red herring for some scholars working
in the field of early athletics. Misled by what appeared to them to record the previously fit perizoma, some hypothesized that Thucydides’ comment on
the recent change to nudity referred to its reintroduction in the fifth century B.C. after an interruption of
the historical custom.123
There are other examples of Greek potters turning
their attention to the Etruscan marketplace, nevertheless;124
and the custom of showing sportsmen wearing garments,
rather than seeming completely nude, is not surprising in Etruria. Although athletes do frequently appear
fifth centuries B.C. (in everyday life they possibly continued to wear a perizoma), there are a number of
sixth- and fifth-century instances of reliefs and wall
paintings, such as a group from Chiusi, from the
Three dimensional examples
are rarer: in sculpture, the nude Greek kouros usually served as model.125

of the repertoire of Archaic and Ancient Etruscan art
contrasts powerfully with the Greek. We see athletes
wearing short pants or perizomata, nude, exposed,
male prisoners, female nudity, and the picture of the
Breastfeeding mother.
A series of athletes with their sex organs covered, on
a group of Attic black-figure vases of the ending of the
sixth century B.C., has been frequently noticed in discussions of Greek athletic nudity. These vases are
known as the “Perizoma Group,” due to the white
loincloth worn by the figures of athletes and dancers
or komasts which decorated them.121 A vase in Oxford, for example, shows runners and boxers wearing
the characteristic perizoma about their waists and
hips (fig. 7).122 That such vases were made especially

strangeness of this detail in a Greek circumstance.126 An
Etruscan buyer, unlike a Greek, would see nothing
Uncommon in the dress of the male figures on the lower
register or of the women on the symposium landscape
hired outside in the Greek manner.127 It makes sense, then, to

think that we are dealing with pictures specially
Selected to please Etruscan customers who bought the
vases from Greek potters, and wanted their ornamentation
to conform to their own customs.
Another peculiar feature of , however, still
requires some explanation. These figures, whether
athletes or dancers, are not young, as on Greek vases,
but heavyset, elderly bearded men. Why would the
Etruscans favor such amounts? Did they anticipate experienced performers, rather than gifted amateurs? It is
hard to say. We still have much to learn about Etruscan customs and beliefs, too as their cultural and
commercial relationships with the Greeks.
Our next example concerns another distinction between the Greek and Etruscan approach to nudity. In
Etruscan artwork (where, as we have seen, Greek “heroic”
nudity was never fully taken) male nakedness
could still be used for magic apotropaic motives;’28 or
it could represent weakness and vulnerability.
On one of the famous wall paintings from the FranTomb in Vulci, now securely dated to the fourth
century B.C., is Achilles’ Sacrifice of the Trojan
A scene told in
the theme of a monumental painting in Italy, for it
monuments of this interval.’29 We find a group of naked,
bound prisoners, vulnerable and helpless, their legs
figure that interests us is the ghost of Patroclus. It’s
represented in a realistic way (assuming that a phantom
can be represented realistically), that’s to say, he is
shown as a corpse, wearing bandages in the places
The hero’s body is shown in
its pitiable state. At exactly the same time it is naturist nudist families , but a strong soul, returning to demand that
blood be shed to suit him. Similar bandages are

Tomba dell’Orco in Tarquinia (where the hero’s fullsize ghost contrasts with the tiny, screeching shades of
the dead clustering around a sterile, wintry tree),130
and they appear on numerous Apulian vase paintings.’31 This picture of the soul, still got in the
Cathedral, as well as the Boundary, or Dying Slaves.’32
In antiquity the tradition of Greek “heroic” nudity
Greece, even as an artistic custom. In Cyprus, and
in Italy, the perizoma (which guys wore in life) was
still represented in the sixth century B.C. Even the
Formidable man Heracles wears his lion skin as a perizoma
on Etruscan bronzes and mirrors, rather than on his